LDP minister confirms intention to shelve Yokohama IR if elected mayor

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Hachiro Okonogi

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Hachiro Okonogi, the member of the House of Representatives who resigned as chairman of the National Public Safety Commission to run for Mayor of Yokohama at the upcoming election on 22 August, held a press conference on Friday where he indicated that if he became mayor, Yokohamas IR project would be shelved.

At the press conference, Okonogi stated, There have been concerns expressed about addictions, security,or using peoples gambling losses on town planning and other matters. He emphasized that there needed to be an alternative policy.

Okonogi is a member of the House of Representatives. He has served as a minister since the Abe administration and held the important roles under the Suga administration of chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, Minister of State for Disaster Management (Disaster Prevention and Ocean Policy) and Minister of State for Disaster Management and Territorial Disputes. His father is Hikosaburo Okonogi, a former Minister of International Trade and Industry. Hikosaburo is a politician who once served as a secretary to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Meanwhile, the Nikkei reported comments from President Takeshi Ueno of the Yokohama Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who is in favor of an IR bid, during a regular press conference on 24 June in which he said, A person who will support a Yokohama IR will be preferable as a mayor.

Regarding Okonogi’s mayoral candidature, he added, I was surprised. I hope to hear more specifics on his policies, including IR.

Masataka Ota (75), a member of the Yokohama City Council, Mineyuki Fukuda (57), a former member of the House of Representatives, and Akiko Fujimura (48), a representative director of an animal protection group, have announced that they will also run for Mayor of Yokohama.

It is reported that the Constitutional Democratic Party, which opposes the IR bid, has entered into final negotiations to support Professor Takeharu Yamanaka (48) of Yokohama City University. Incumbent Mayor Fumiko Hayashi has not yet expressed her intent.